a symbol of peace on the earth walk – studying a tortoise

She carries the world on her back, and her home is where ever she happens to be. She knows what’s really important, and what can be left behind. 

turtleskullI’ve wanted to study and paint tortoise / turtle anatomy ever since I saw its structure which included small blades, a rib cage and pelvis. Unlike the insect studies, this anatomy is dense and crowded into the strong shell – a shield of sorts.

These reptiles are crepuscular, meaning they are often most active at twilight. They are generally reclusive animals. When the limbs and head are withdrawn into the shell, the animal is completely closed off.

I get a feeling of dissection as I work this composition. Oddly enough as I move through the body I also sense the creatures vulnerability.

All of my anatomy artwork, human and animal both, represents vitality. The physical form itself continues to show intricate complexity – balanced and so uniquely beautiful. Treat it well so it can do its job which includes steadily and gracefully carrying you along the earth as you live a full life.


Depending on the culture there are many symbolic associations connected to both the tortoise and the turtle, Here is a list of a few of my favorites:

  •  the oldest symbol for planet Earth
  •  goddess energy
  •  endurance
  • peace on the earth walk
  • links between heaven and earth
  • healer and protector
  • grants long life wisdom and good health
  • a lunar creature


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